Restoration Tips

Is your car squeaking at every stop sign? Could your paint use some touching up? Old Cars Weekly presents tips and techniques for restoring classic cars and parts. Browse our collection of articles from restoring brakes to preparing your car for auto shows. We are your comprehensive resource for antique auto restoration.

Bumper Bolt-Up: Challenger gets repro bumper

Sean Branson eyeballs the new mounting brackets to determine if the existing holes will work. “A lot of times you’ll have to hog out some holes and maybe do a little welding on the brackets,” he said. “We have an aftermarket bumper and aftermarket bracket, and a lot of times you’ll be just an 1/8 inch off and you’ll have to adjust the holes. This gives you a lot of adjustment left to right, but not as much up and down."

The rear bumper on this Dodge Challenger couldn’t be saved. But Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop in Eau Claire, Wis., had a solution. See step-by-step installation. More »

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Bringing home a ‘barn find’

While many of us in the old car hobby dream of stumbling across a dusty but otherwise all-original vehicle in a barn, it’s a very rare occurrence. That is not to say that it doesn’t happen.

Just about any barn find is able to be transported in a trailer, and many are towable, while a few can actually be driven home. However, sometimes what is towable or “trailerable” (and maybe should be) is transformed into drivable. Here’s how to do it. More »

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Tunable Tension: An ol’ fashioned fitment fix

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Gappin’ doesn’t just happen. When a body on a rotisserie must become reacquainted with the frame rails to which it belongs, or when new mounting pads and a box full of shims aren’t enough to square things up, you’ll likely twist panels and cut parts to get a good gap. Here’s how you can fix it. More »

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Tips and tricks to make your next door assembly easier

The door dolly is used to lift the door to the correct height and roll the door into place so it can be mounted on the two hinges that have also been removed and painted. “You’re eliminating another guy’s labor and now you can raise it, lower it, move it in and out by yourself. When it’s in raw steel (not painted yet), this thing is really handy. You don’t have to worry about the door banging off the cowl and scratching anything because it’s all just raw metal. But it is a time-saver, for a shop anyway. This dolly is really a nice thing to have for a shop,” said Ken’s Klassics shop foreman T.J. Krueger. “Then you can’t blame your buddy for helping you put a door on and chipping something.”

Mounting door hinges and hanging doors is one of those restoration steps that professionals — such as the guys at Ken’s Klassics in Muscoda, Wis. — make look easy. But as many novices can attest, it can be a frustrating job, especially for first-timers, and frought with trial-and-error learning. More »

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Fitting Fenders: Saved by shims

In the beginning, it was business as usual. With the car’s weight on its suspension and even tire inflation, a bottle jack was positioned under the sagging passenger’s side frame horn. Then a long level was laid across the shanks of the upper bumper studs.

What started out as a standard, straight-forward procedure in our ’31 Cadillac project took a surprising twist in the form of a twisted front fender. More »

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Patch panels made easy: Rust busting on a ’37 Chevy school bus

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When Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop got a chance to renovate and customize a 1937 Chevrolet school bus, shop owner Fred Kappus Jr. knew it could be one of the more fun projects his shop had ever taken on. He also knew it could be one of the most challenging. More »

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Here’s the Rub: How to stop wire and hose chafing

Wires or hoses that are not controlled are prone to chafe. Follow this “Modified Work Order” to avoid failure as a result of worn-through wiring and plumbing.

Sometimes, the various hose lines and electrical harnesses of vintage vehicles begin rubbing on each other and chafing against other components. The best way to prevent problems in wires and hoses is to evaluate, emancipate and eliminate or, at least reduce, the effects of rubbing and chafing of the lines by protecting, securing and rerouting them. Here’s how… More »

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Fending for yourself: Attaching fender skirts

A rubber gasket on the skirt is required to seal it against the wheel opening. On a Pontiac such as this 1966, the wheel opening trim will be removed and the NOS skirts will be drilled for bright metal moldings that continue the body line.

Fender skirts are a fad that comes and goes. When vehicle documentation shows that a car had fender skirts when it left the factory, some owners want them reinstalled, regardless of the current fashion. This usually requires a lot more work than it did to glue fender skirts to the model car they built as a kid. More »

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Do-it-yourself patch panels

Schrock cuts the sheet metal with the power shears.

Even on the West Coast and in Texas, it’s getting more difficult to find a 30-year-old or older project car without a case of the tin worm. Chances are, a project car is going to require some metal replacement, and when that metal isn’t available from a reproduction part producer or a parts car, there is but one alternative — make the part yourself. More »

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Tip-top floor pans

On top of the floor, where carpets will cover the very solid repair the waterproof fiberglass filler can be left unsanded if you want only a basic repair.

Many unit-body cars need floor panel repair or replacement. Whether it’s best to fix an isolated rust hole in the existing floor or cut it out completely and install an entire floor pan depends on the size of the hole and your preference. The floor pan is an important structural part of a unit-body car, so large rust holes or widely dispersed pinholes mean a new floor pan is in order. However, if the rust is isolated, new patch panels can be installed, thus saving some of the original sheet metal and money in your wallet. More »

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